China Press Review – April 21, 2020

Press review

Coronavirus: China seen pursuing lower 2020 economic growth target after historic first quarter contraction
China’s economy contracted 6.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, the first contraction since quarterly records began in 1992      The International Monetary Fund has projected growth of only 1.2 per cent, with one analyst saying 3 per cent this year would be seen as a ‘a remarkable achievement’

‘How Can I Get Through This?’ The Impact of Coronavirus on China’s Economy Is Only Just Beginning
Across the Asia-Pacific region, $2.1 trillion of lost output is projected to mean 23 million people lose their jobs in 2020. Banks and lending institutions will be scrambling to roll out stimulus packages.  “A crisis of unprecedented severity calls for a response of unprecedented scale,” APEC secretariat executive director Rebecca Sta Maria said in a recent statement.

China says India’s new FDI rules are discriminatory and violate WTO principles of free and fair trade
China’s cumulative investment of US$8 billion in India far exceeds the total of its neighbours put together    Beijing hopes India will revise “discriminatory practices” and treat investments from different countries equally, says Chinese embassy spokesman

Coronavirus: China’s credit push struggles as banks weigh risks of lending to cash-strapped small businesses
Despite efforts by Beijing, banks have little incentive to lend to small businesses struggling with the coronavirus due to lack of collateral and higher default risks     Many small firms at risk of closing are being forced to turn to shadow bankers for loans at much higher interest rates than regular lenders

China post-Covid-19: why it’s still too soon to count on the property sector springing back to life
China has flattened the curve, but isn’t out of the woods yet. While there are signs of recovery in the office and retail sectors, China is restarting its economy during a global recession. Also, new infections in Harbin are worrying

Coronavirus boost to the US dollar shows China must do more to win global trust in the renminbi
To change investor psychology towards the renminbi, Beijing must not only improve monetary policy transparency and open financial markets, but also support international bodies like the IMF and World Bank

Lessons from Vietnam’s COVID-19 victories
As of 21 April 2020, Vietnam had recorded 268 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and no deaths. Vietnam has successfully treated 201 patients, performed 206,253 tests and quarantined 62,998 people. Despite being a resource-limited country with a suboptimal healthcare system and sharing a long border with China, Vietnam is successfully managing the pandemic.

Indonesia bans traditional Ramadan exodus to rein in COVID-19 spread
Indonesia will ban its traditional annual exodus of people streaming out of cities at the end of the Muslim fasting month in May, as the Southeast Asian nation looks to curb the spread of COVID-19, President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday (Apr 21).

Coronavirus attacks lining of blood vessels all over the body, Swiss study finds
Researcher says virus enters ‘defence line’ and causes circulation problems, which can lead to multiple organ failure  In addition to a vaccine, he suggests strengthening vascular health may be key to tackling Covid-19

Migrant Worker Virus Spread Threatens Singapore’s Invincibility
Singapore has learned with a shock the cost of ignoring the health needs of the 650,000-odd foreign workers who toil largely unseen in the city-state. On April 21, the Ministry of Health announced 1,426 new cases of Covid-19, a huge increase that – assuredly only temporarily – left the tiny island republic, with 5.7 million residents, with the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia.

Singapore extends coronavirus ‘circuit breaker’ measures to June 1
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says the decision was made against the backdrop of a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases   The country will close more workplaces and implement a system for people to go to wet markets or supermarkets only on designated days

Coronavirus: US university stops using Chinese testing kits after some found to be contaminated
University of Washington School of Medicine had airlifted tens of thousands of kits from Shanghai factory   Liquid in small percentage of vials changed colour, an indication of bacterial growth. Some appeared cloudy, too

Jack Ma Foundation donates to World Health Organization
The Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation on Tuesday announced a donation of medical supplies to the World Health Organization as part of their ongoing commitment to aid in the global battle against Covid-19.    The foundations pledged 100 million face masks, 1 million N95 masks and 1 million test kits to the United Nations’ international public-health agency, to be distributed to countries and regions impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Virgin Australia collapses, becoming Asia’s first airline to be claimed by coronavirus
Virgin Australia had already furloughed 80 per cent of its 10,000-strong workforce but will continue to operate some flights for essential workers, freight and the repatriation of Australians    The airline had more than A$5 billion (US$3.2 billion) in debt as of the end of 2019

Amid US hysteria over China’s rise, the world is in need of more voices of reason
Academic Kishore Mahbubani’s latest book again makes the case that the West should not seek to stop the Chinese resurgence, but should try to work with it    Conflict with China is a confrontation the West cannot afford to wage, or lose

‘We are not the culprit’: Beijing tells US to stop blaming China for coronavirus pandemic
Foreign ministry spokesman says global community should ‘stay united and cooperate’ to overcome the virus      Beijing is under mounting pressure over its handling of the crisis, with calls for an independent inquiry

Vietnam accuses Beijing of ‘seriously violating’ sovereignty in South China Sea
Move to create administrative units for disputed Paracel and Spratly Islands angers Hanoi   China has been engaged in a series of stand-offs with rival claimants recently

China’s justice minister sheds Communist Party title
Fu Zhenghua no longer listed as ministry’s deputy party leader, according to the government agency’s site  Fu assumed position after various public security roles

CHINA VOICES | China worries about health code
As China gets used to digital quarantine systems, a debate emerges about protecting privacy if these systems become permanent. The spread of QR code-based digital quarantine systems has made digital surveillance a reality for the first time for most people on the mainland. While many credit the system with allowing China to emerge from lockdowns after only a few weeks, mainland commentators are also worrying about the privacy and governance implications of what some call a growing “digital Leviathan.” Many assume that the system will outlive the epidemic it was built to control.

China Shows its Fist in Hong Kong
Beijing suddenly has dramatically increased the pressure on Hong Kong, arranging for the arrest of influential independent voices, engineering the sacking of the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, demanding the passage of a security clause in the basic law as soon as possible to combat so-called ‘foreign interference” and putting a former  public security minister with responsibility for Hong Kong under investigation in China.

the future of safe air travel?
One of Aviointeriors’ designs, shown above, proposes transparent edges around each passengers head, bring back memories of public telephones or involved hair treatments.    These could be added to seats as they are configured currently, but another idea is to change the orientation of some seats for even more hygienic fun

Alain Gillard
Information Officer
Service Asie Pacifique
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1080 Bruxelles
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